Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Salsa Salsa and Margarita, Cozumel #CruisingCarnival

Cozumel Mexico was the first port we visited during our Carnival Valor girls cruise.  I visited Cozumel on my first cruise in 2003 and was excited to go back. The one thing that clearly stuck in my mind was how gorgeous the water and beaches were.
My best friend Keri and I spent a lot of time figuring out where we would go on each of our stops. We had purchased an all inclusive beach day and in our minds, it was the perfect way to celebrate finishing the runDisney Half Marathon 2 days prior. Then this happened....
Our first souvenir on the trip was two Carnival  rain ponchos. We had a 100% chance of rain on the day we were in Cozumel. Luckily we had the wifi package on Carnival so we were able to view the weather channel the night before and cancel our beach day. We headed to Carnival's excursion desk and asked for an indoor excursion. They found us an activity called Salsa & Salsa and Margaritas. We paid $70 per person for this excursion. They picked us up and dropped us off at a waterfront resort where the event took place. It was an unexpected fantastic experience and I would suggest it to anyone visiting Cozumel. 
We spent a few hours learning how to make 6 kinds of Salsa, two margaritas and after everyone was feeling good - Salsa dancing. The table was full of all the ingredients needed and we were given quesadillas and taquitos to go with our creations. we started off with traditional and frozen strawberry margaritas. I have tried perfecting the margarita for years and it never works. This is where my life changed - the traditional margarita has only 3 ingredients. It's equal parts of tequila and Cointreau with a splash of lime. It was perfect. 
 Classic Margarita
1 shot good tequila (I like Anejo)
1 shot Cointreau
Juice from 1/2 lime

Salt your glass, squeeze the lime juice in your glass. Add two shots of alcohol over ice and stir.

Frozen Strawberry Margarita
4 shots of good tequila
4 shots of Cointreau
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup fresh strawberries
2 cups of ice

Add all ingredients in a blender and puree. Be sure to sugar your glass before serving!

Then we started on the Salsa & Guacamole.
Fiery Red Salsa
1-3 clove roasted garlic
1/4 white onion roasted and chopped 
1/2-2 roasted jalapeno or serrano chiles (depending on how hot you want it)
2 roasted roma tomatoes
Pinch of cilantro, lime juice and salt to taste

Grind garlic in molcajete until pureed to nothing. Add chile, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, salt and lime juice. Continue mashing until well blended.
Tangy Salsa Verde
1-3 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 roasted and chopped white onion
1/2-1 serrano chiles
4 roasted tomatillos
Pinch of cilantro, lime juice and salt

Grind garlic in molcajete until pureed to nothing. Add chile, onions, tomatillos, cilantro, salt and lime juice. Continue mashing until well blended.
Oaxacan Guacamole
1/4 cup of green salsa verde (recipe above)
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 ripe avocado
salt to taste

Place all ingredients into molcajete and blend until smooth
Pico de Gallo & Tropical Salsa
(because after 5 margaritas, you forget to take pictures)

Pico (left photo, almost all eaten) 
2 Roma tomatoes
1/2 white onion diced
1/2 jalapeno de-seeded and diced
Pinch of Cilantro, lime juice and salt (notice the word pinch - I think we went cilantro happy)

Mix tomatoes, onion and jalapeno together then separate into two bowls. The first bowl, add lime juice, cilantro and salt. In the second bowl, make Tropical Salsa

Tropical Salsa (right photo)
1-3 tablespoons of fresh chopped pineapple

Using the other half of the Pico de Gallo, add 1 tablespoon of chopped pineapple or your favorite tropical fruit.
Rompope Dessert Salsa
1/2 mango, melon or pineapple chopped. 
1 tablespoon chopped apples
1-2 tablespoons Rompope (Vanilla liqueur)
1 tablespoon coconut
Mix and chill. Serve over ice-cream of your choice
AND THEN WE SALSA!
Notice Keri didn't put her drink down to salsa. Keeping it classy.
Lela the Pig
One great thing the Salsa and Salsa ladies do is give back to the community. Lela the Pig raises money for those in need. Each month, they choose a new cause to donate to. 

Overall this excursion blew me away. I wasn't expecting much and went into it a little sad over the weather. We couldn't be happier with the decision to book Salsa & Salsa. It was an unexpected amazing experience and we give it 5 stars.

IN THE PORT:
We love tequila.
Naturally, what does one do after drinking margaritas all day - find the closest bar and drink shots of tequila. Our friends back home would literally say "who are these girls". However, we learned we LOVED tequila and it made us very happy people. In fact, I purchased $100 worth of tequila at the port. Yikes. 
Fish Pedicures
After a lot of tequila, Keri and I braved the waters and got a fish pedicure at the Port. For $25, we had fish eat the dead skin off of our feet. It didn't hurt or tickle and was overall a neat experience. Both of our feet were smooth and all the callouses from running were gone. They also had booths set up for massages. 

Cozumel Port
We didn't have much time to explore all the shops in Cozumel. We noticed a lot of the standard port stores along with local novelties. There were tons of bars offering tequila and Mexican food. After I spent $100 on tequila, I wanted to get back on the ship before I did anymore damage. 

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